SWAIN COUNTY, N.C.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, cleanup from an August 24 landslide at the Nantahala River within the Nantahala Gorge is progressing.
In a news release, contractors estimate they removed approximately 350 dump truck loads of soil and rock and approximately 150 truckloads of woody debris from the landslide sites.
Evaluations of potential river hazards will continue into Monday as water continues to flow through the river.
The U.S. Forest Service, Duke Energy, and North Carolina Department of Transportation are monitoring this situation closely, taking it one day at a time.
Public access on Forest Service land within the Nantahala Gorge remains closed to all uses until further notice.
(WSPA) – A western North Carolina highway is closed and some vehicles were left stranded Saturday night into Sunday due to four separate mudslides caused by heavy rains, Saturday evening.
U.S. 19/74 in Swain County is closed in both directions through the Nantahala Gorge, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
Almost three inches of rain caused four mudslides in a five-mile stretch between Hewitts Road and the Nantahala Outdoor Center.
Crews were working Saturday to clear enough space for the stranded vehicles to get out of the gorge area.
“This is unprecedented in the Nantahala Gorge,” Division 14 Engineer Brian Burch said. “We have engineers on site, equipment on site, and crews on site working with state highway patrol and local responders to help get people out as quickly and safely as possible tonight.”
NCDOT crews from Cherokee and Graham Counties are working to remove debris from the western end of the gorge while crews from Swain and Jackson Counties work on the eastern end.
Detours have been set up to bypass the slides:
Westbound traffic will take NC-28 west to Steccoah then NC-143 south to Robbinsville, then NC-129 south to Topton and US-19/74.
Eastbound traffic will take the detour in reverse.
According to the NCDOT, the road was closed shortly before 7:30 p.m. Saturday and is not expected to reopen until Monday.